COMMENTARY| If the comparisons become reality, the Michigan State Spartans could have a Dirk Nowitzki-like player, Karl Towns, Jr, in 2015.
The soon-to-be high school sophomore has been compared -- by one than more source -- to Nowitzki, a 7-footer who has been a staple of the Dallas Mavericks' rotation since 1998. Towns, although only 16, is 6-11 and 235 pounds -- and he's a prime target in the eyes of Spartans coach Tom Izzo, who extended an offer earlier this week.
Towns competes with the Dominican National Team, recently playing against players 10 years his senior. For such a young man, he seems to have the right career path in mind. And he has a plan in place to get him where he wants to land.
"Ever since I was young, I wanted to make this my job, playing basketball," Towns told the Sporting News. "I'm not really getting paid to do anything, but playing at a professional level shows that if I'm able to do it now, at 16 ... give me three years of high school and one year of college - maybe one to four years of college - I'll be 400 times better."
Michigan State hasn't been known for its big men, at least not in the Izzo Era. While Towns' game is more finesse, like the sharp-shooting Nowitzki's, it's hard not to think that he could develop into a forceful -- and crafty -- five in the future. Already at 235 pounds, should he choose Michigan State, Towns would likely come in at least 20-30 pounds heavier -- and at 7-feet tall or more, depending on his growth spurts.
Towns isn't rated on Rivals.com, but it's a sure bet that he'll be a five-star prospect. Verbal Commits.com and ESPN has the St. Joseph standout (Metuchen, NJ) listed as such.
The Spartans are keying-in on the one-and-done type of talent that frequents Kentucky. With Gary Harris coming in this season, Drake Harris in 2014, and possibly Jabari Parker, the 2013 class' top-ranked player, along with Cliff Alexander, the eighth-ranked player in 2014, it's almost-scary to think how dangerous the Spartans could be should they all stick around and play a couple years.
And if Izzo gets Jahlil Okafor, a 6-10, 280-pound 2014 grad, imagine the type of frontcourt that would roam the floor of the Breslin Center.
However, judging by Towns' comment to the Sporting News, one year might be all he needs. And that would come two years after Parker, who would likely be a one-year phenom in East Lansing. Towns' arrival would be a year after Drake Harris joined the Spartans, and probably a year too late to play with Gary Harris.
It will be a challenge for Izzo to convince these stars to stick around. But don't be shocked to see at least one Final Four in the next one to three years. Izzo's built it, and they're coming -- but the question is how long will the stay?
Take a look at the Spartans' offer list, according to Verbal Commits.com, a great resource for those into tracking tomorrow's players today.
Adam Biggers has followed NCAA basketball for over 20 years, specifically the Michigan State Spartans. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.
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